Toyota Bodine announces $50M investment in Jackson plant

Mae Love
March 15, 2019

"These latest investments represent even more examples of our long-term commitment to build where we sell", said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer for Toyota Motor North America. About 1,800 people will work at the plant after the new expansion. The company identified a total $750 million in investments at five US facilities located in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The facility will need to fill 450 jobs to meet its new manufacturing demands.

In Huntsville, engine production capacity will increase from 670,000 to 900,000 with the expansion by the end of 2021.

"So this new announcement is for a new 4-cylinder and a V6 engine line", said David Fernandes, Huntsville Plant President. The jobs are not coming to the WSAZ region, but the company is investing $238 million in the Georgetown plant.

The plant was built as Toyota's first "wholly-owned vehicle manufacturing plant" in the United States. "We're very excited about what the future holds for Toyota in Sweet Home Alabama and about the new jobs it is creating".

Thursday's announcement comes just days after Toyota announced a partnership with developers to create a 700 acre solar panel farm in Pike County. "This latest investment, the company's seventh in Huntsville, signals Toyota's confidence in our workforce and its commitment to continued investment in this facility - more than $1.2 billion to date".

The motor plant produced about 630,000 engines in 2018 for an array of Toyota vehicles: RAV4, Highlander, Corolla, Tacoma, Sequoia and Tundra. Four-cylinder and V-6 engines are also built at the site.

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Fernandes says production will begin for the new 4-cylinder engine in 2020. It also plans to ramp up its US-based engine production, presumably to help with that whole "more hybrids" thing.

"And that's going to require us to do an expansion for the 6-cylinder line", Fernandes said.

"Toyota's continued investment in the Huntsville community is a testament to Alabama's first-rate workers and our leadership in the automotive industry", U.S. Sen. Doug Jones said in the announcement.

Six million engines have come from the local assembly plant. Attracting a talented and highly skilled workforce is of great importance to companies like Toyota, and I look forward to having them, and more than 230 other employers, represented at our upcoming job fair on Friday, March 22, from 11 a.m.to 3 p.m.at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

But, business being business and politics being what they are right now, it also seems likely that Toyota's expansion of its USA production is a show of allegiance to the powers that be in hopes of staving off increased tariffs on the goods that it imports from Japan.

Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday it will invest $749 million in five USA plants and add 586 jobs as it boosts engine production capacity and adds new hybrid models to its lineup.

Toyota is pledging $288 million to the engine plant in Huntsville. "Toyota's decision to expand the Huntsville plant further cements Alabama's global reputation as a premier location for automobile manufacturing".

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